The fourth edition of the Tour of Oman starts on Monday, February 11, and runs until Saturday, February 16 2013.
Although it’s often lumped in together with the preceding Middle East race, the Tour of Qatar, the Tour of Oman is a very different event and for one reason: hills.
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It’s the Tour of Oman’s hilly nature that attracts the stage race specialists as well as classics riders honing their form ahead of the spring. Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins are both on Sky’s roster for the race, the first time that they have appeared together this season. Froome is aiming for the Tour de France in July, and Wiggins the Giro d’Italia in May.
The British Sky duo will come up against a host of other Grand Tour contenders, including Alberto Contador (Saxo Tinkoff), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Joaquim Rodriguez (Katusha) and 2011 Tour winner Cadel Evans (BMC Racing).
Tom Boonen (Omega Pharma-QuickStep) returns from injury at the race, having had to sit out the Tour of Qatar. Fabian Cancellara (RadioShack-Leopard), Matt Goss (Orica-GreenEdge) and Russell Downing (NetApp-Endura) are all also scheduled to take part.
As in previous years, it’s the fourth day of racing finishing on Green Mountain that will decide the overall classification. The equivalent stage was won by Nibali last year ahead of overall winner Peter Velits, riding for Omega Pharma-QuickStep. Velits pipped Nibali in the final overall classification by just one second.
Stages one and two are likely to finish in a bunch sprint, although it won’t be Andre Greipel taking the honours in the opener like he did last year as his Lotto-Belisol squad are not in the race. Marcel Kittel and Peter Sagan both wons stages here last year – it was one of the first glimpses of the form that saw Sagan later take the points classification at the 2012 Tour de France.
Time bonuses are awarded for intermediate sprints and stage finishes.
Tour of Oman 2013: Latest news
Tour of Oman 2013: Stage reports
Tour of Oman 2013: Photo galleries
Tour of Oman 2013: Stages
Stage 1, Monday 11 February, Al Musannah to Sultan Qaboos University, 162km
Stage 2, Tuesday 12 February, Fanja in Bidbid to Al Bustan, 146km
Stage 3, Wednesday 13 February, Nakhal Fort to Wadi Dayqah Dam, 190km
Stage 4, Thursday 14 February, Al Saltiyah in Samail to Jabal Al Akhdhar (Green Mountain), 152.5km
Stage 5, Friday 15 February, Al Alam Palace to Ministry of Housing in Bosha, 144km
Stage 6, Saturday 16 February, Hawit Nagam Parkto Matrah Corniche, 144km
Tour of Oman 2013: Teams
Full start list with race numbers>>
Bardiani Valvole-CSF Inox (Italy)
BMC Racing Team (USA)
Champion System (China)
IAM Cycling (Switzerland)
Omega Pharma-QuickStep (Belgium)
Sky (Great Britain)
Tour of Oman 2013: TV coverage
Highlights of the race will be shown on British Eurosport on the day following each stage. First showing only listed, repeats will be shown at other times. Check the British Eurosport website for more details.
Stage 1 highlights, 9am, Tuesday February 12 on British Eurosport 2
Stage 2 highlights, 9am, Wednesday February 13 on British Eurosport 2
Stage 3 highlights, 9am, Thursday February 14 on British Eurosport 2
Stage 4 highlights, 9am, Friday February 15 on British Eurosport 2
Stage 5 highlights, 9am, Saturday February 16 on British Eurosport 2
Stage 6 highlights, 9am, Sunday February 17 on British Eurosport 2
Peter Velits (centre) won the 2012 Tour of Oman
Tour of Oman: Last year’s top ten (2012)
1. Peter Velits (Svk) Omega Pharma-Quick Step 21-32-02
2. Vincenzo Nibali (Ita) Liquigas-Cannondale at 1 sec
3. Tony Gallopin (Fra) RadioShack-Nissan at 17secs
4. Sandy Casar (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 21secs
5. Arnold Jeannesson (Fra) FDJ-BigMat at 30secs
6. Tom Jelte Slagter (Ned) Rabobank
7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Katusha at 47secs
8. Ramunas Navardauskas (Ltu) Garmin-Barracuda at 49secs
9. Thomas Lebas (Fra) Bridgestone-Anchor at 50secs
10. Fabian Cancellara (Swi) RadioShack-Nissan at 52secs
Tour of Oman previous winners
2012: Peter Velits
2011: Robert Gesink
2010: Fabian Cancellara